Over the next few days before the NFL Draft hits, we’ll be looking at some of Auburn’s best pro prospects! Today we start with a guy that helped seal things together for the Tiger offense ever since starting as a true freshman back in 2015!
Chandler Cox is one of the higher-rated blocking backs coming out for the NFL Draft this season, due to his prowess paving the road and his ability to make catches out of the backfield. Over the course of his four seasons on the Plains, Cox snagged 26 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown. He figured into the offense more in that role than as a ball-carrier, as his primary job on running plays was to open the holes for Kerryon Johnson and Kam Pettway. He only carried the ball 11 times for 18 yards and 3 touchdowns in his four years, but Auburn’s rushing offense relied heavily on his ability to take on large defenders at the point of attack.
Now, as he heads into the NFL, he’ll have an opportunity to either block for backs in that traditional sense, or provide protection for a quarterback in a pass-first offense.
The fullback position is one that’s interestingly enough been beneficial for NFL teams despite a huge shift toward more passing on offense. Of the top ten rushing teams in the NFL, most of them employed a full-time fullback, and certain teams that really relied on the rushing game had two (Oakland) or even three (Kansas City) fullbacks on the roster. Cox is certainly capable of turning into a key piece of the offense no matter if they run a more wide-open spread attack, or a classic two-back offense. In either situation, the fullback is a versatile piece of the puzzle.
Like we said above, Cox isn’t the traditional neck-roll guy that’ll body up to a linebacker. He’s able to provide a safety outlet for the passing game, and he’s able to help protect the quarterback in a spread offense while acting as a durable back that can catch or run. H-backs in the NFL have become en vogue over the past couple of seasons for the reason that they can help to fool defenses and give little time to adjust.
Now, he may need to get a little bigger and stronger to have a chance to become a full-time NFL starter, but if he can do that, he’s got the right temperament and intelligence to thrive in the League. However, it’s telling that on Patriots.com, they’ve got him listed as one of their running back prospects. The accompanying video shows that Cox has experience in a scheme quite similar to some of the things that Tom Brady likes to get into up in New England.